Growing up, my family had lots of holiday traditions. My mom would not put up the tree before the middle of December, and it would not be taken down until January 6th. Even what we ate for Christmas dinner was a tradition; turkey with all the trimmings and trifle for dessert. I never realized the importance of these traditions until I struck out on my own.
When my husband and I got married and moved to Texas, we were not able to go home for Christmas so we set about creating our own traditions which are a combination of the ones we grew up with and some new ones of our own.
After the recent tragedy in Newtown I think having traditions will be a way to help us through the sadness this holiday season. I know I did not feel much like Christmas shopping or watching Christmas movies, but for our kids they are yet another routine to follow, so we did it.
Routines provide comfort in so much as they give us a sense of “normalcy”. Our girls are teenagers and are well aware of the tragedy, but as with anyone, the saturation of the news coverage can become too much to bear. We all need to take a break and regroup.
For those of you with younger children, a break in routine or traditions can be worrying. They may wonder why things are not the same and feel less secure. So this year you may need to fake it and go along with it for their sake. Perhaps this is a good time to start a new tradition with your family. If you donated schools supplies or a stuffed toy for the children of Newtown, next year make a donation to Toys for Tots, or take a “snowman” from the Night to Care tree at Jerome Harrison School. If you don’t live in North Branford, contact your town hall, their town social work department may have a list of families in need of gifts. Local food banks are always grateful for donations.
Being happy during a time of great sadness does not mean you have forgotten what happened, it will reassure your kids that bad things happen but life does indeed go on.